Although the calendar says it's spring, I am looking at snow falling outside my window. Tens of millions of people in the U.S. could probably have written that first sentence, so I apologize for being so obvious. But weather always reminds me of travel (probably because it affects it so much), and travel is something we do more of now than our predecessors did. And travel is a big part of my life.
Usually, I am travelling to visit a prospective client to show them how many business problems our software can solve for them. It is impossible to go through a thorough demonstration of our software in a day, because there are so many business problems that it addresses. It's a bit like exploring a mansion. Just when you thought you'd reached the end of the house, you open a door to …
One of the challenges of a company like ours is organizing ourselves in such a way as to be able to serve our existing clients well, implement Advantage at new clients effectively, and push our product into places where our clients will need it to be when they get there. This was brought home to me this week while visiting an AdvantageCS client who needs the products we are developing ASAP!
This is the story at so many of the publishing companies we visit. They are under tremendous pressure to deliver new products to their audience in order to grow and thrive. They are looking to technology companies like AdvantageCS to provide what they need, and speed to market is of the utmost importance.
We’ve made some changes to meet these increasingly crucial demands. Recently, a team of …
Last Fall, I attended the international conference of the Federation of International Periodical Publishers (FIPP) in Rome. Once again, the refrain "Go Digital!" was sung during two days by a full set of speakers, both from the vendor side and from the publishing world. Actually, it was not so much a "move away from print" speech as a lack of understanding of this traditional business that really struck me in those sessions. Multiple presentations around brand extension, social networking and new revenue streams were largely shown by the gurus of this new world. And when an "old timer" came on the stage to present about traditional print, the audience did not really take him seriously. However, the final conclusion brought everybody back to earth. The three executives that were …
Scott Ghormley will take over as manager of the support center on May 1st, replacing Evelyn Acton, who is retiring. Scott’s personality, knowledge of Advantage, and diverse history with ACS and many of our clients make him uniquely qualified to manage the Advantage Support Center team.
Scott’s ACS career began before ACS even existed. As a sophomore in high school, he worked at Infomatics, one of the precursors to T & B Computing, later re-named AdvantageCS. He was an intern at T & B during college and joined full-time upon graduation from Eastern Michigan University with a degree in Operations Research and Information Systems. Although he left for almost ten years, working at Domino’s Pizza and other firms, he returned to ACS in 1997.
If Scott doesn’t hold the record for the …
Who hasn’t found themselves with too much work and not enough people? It’s a common scenario in today’s business climate. The next time it happens to you, consider turning to ACS for help. In addition to assisting with the typical Advantage-related tasks such as in-converting new publications, third-party integration projects, implementing new Advantage features, monitoring nightly processing, server configuration and fine-tuning, upgrade projects, testing and training, we have experts ready, willing and eager to help you with a host of additional tasks.
Over the past few years, for example, ACS people have stepped in to work with our clients to manage projects that were not necessarily related to Advantage, perform web development when developers either left or were laid off, …
ACS is pleased to announce that Egmont Sweden is the latest addition to the Advantage client roster. They publish about 60 magazines, mostly consumer, and many for children. Egmont Sweden has the Disney print and distribution license for Europe, and so their offerings include a lot of Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Toy Story, etc. comics. They also publish titles for pre-teens. Their adult magazines cover a variety of topics such as travel, style, cooking, interior decorating, celebrity news, and more.
The implementation is currently underway, spearheaded by ACS project manager Daryl Vautour and Klas Persson at Egmont.
Egmont Sweden joins their sister company, Egmont Denmark, which has been an Advantage client since 2009.
The 2014 Advantage Users Group (AUG) was--despite the Midwestern winter-like temperatures--a success. As has been the case at past AUG gatherings, the weather was once again a factor for many traveling to New Orleans. Despite that, most of the 75 registrants made it to the conference, including representatives from Egmont in Sweden.
Eric Fishman of the American Psychiatric Association (APA), the outgoing AUG chairperson, opened the conference by welcoming one and all and then introduced the keynote speaker, Nancy Becker of UCG.
In spite of having her flight re-directed and then driving 5 hours to New Orleans from Houston the night before, Nancy delivered an enthusiastic address that began with a group participation activity to help break the ice and get communication flowing. She …
ACS recently launched the English version of our newly designed public website. It was built using a responsive design, which means it’s much more tablet- and mobile-friendly. It also represents Advantage and ACS more accurately and with a fresh new look.
We’re working on the French site and plan to update the support website as well, but are taking it in stages.
Hile Creative did the design work (www.hilecreative.com) and ACS engineer Alan Cherney programmed the site, using Orchard.
Evelyn Acton leaves an impressive legacy here at ACS. She was hired in 1998 to be the first manager of the newly established Advantage Support Center and has spent the past 16 years enhancing and fine-tuning that department. She has provided leadership and trained more than a dozen support analysts and personally provided support--and friendship--to nearly every Advantage client over those years.
Nikki Lorenz of Kalmbach Publishing has known Ev since the beginning. “Back when Ev started with ACS, there really was no 'Support Center,'” explains Nikki. “While ACS did an adequate job of supporting clients then, Ev has built a well-oiled support organization from the ground up. I don’t think she quite attained the 'perfect world' she strives for, but she has certainly championed an …
We are always looking for ways to improve our internal processes to provide better services and software. Recently, we've started experimenting with a different software development methodology called Scrum. Traditionally, we have used the Waterfall methodology, which our clients will be familiar with in practice if not by name. Roughly, the process progresses through the following steps: business requirement -> functional design -> development -> QA -> release. Here is a diagram of the classic Waterfall method we've been using for the past 30 years.
Why change if the current process works? Well, we're not throwing out the Waterfall model entirely - it can be effective in some instances. However, in some development projects, particularly larger ones involving several engineers, the …